Maritime history is the study of people and their activities in, on, around and under the waters of the world, from the great oceans to inland waters.

For further information, see Australian Association for Maritime History (AAHM) website:
Join the AAHM:

View shipwrecks listed on the Victorian Heritage Database:

A Select Maritime Bibliography

MMHN Research Reports


MMHN Research Report

31 October 2019


MMHN Historic Melbourne Maritime Images

Assembled by Michael O’Brien for the Inaugural AGM, 23 October 2019

MMHN Ferries Seminar Forum Report

23 June, 2021

Birrarung to the Blue Lake

June, 2022

Collections, Archives & Artefacts


In addition to sites, memorials and monuments of social, economic and cultural significance, extensive and nationally significant maritime archives and artefact collections remain in Melbourne. These form a ‘dispersed collection’ around Central and Greater Melbourne. They are not understood as representing ‘collectively’ valuable public assets with the capability to generate both cultural benefit and economic benefit.

It is a concern that the responsibility for curating many of these valuable heritage assets lies currently with non-profit organisations, managed by volunteers, corporates and several government departments. Non-profit private organisations also hold maritime assets and such collections or sites are primarily staffed by volunteers under constant pressure to generate income. Untrained volunteers care for these marine assets collections in various dispersed locations. Few comply with the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries. Without Museum Accreditation Program compliance and accreditation, they cannot optimize tourism promotional opportunities.

Without professional curatorial expertise, which would be available in an accredited Museum, nationally significant maritime heritage assets will remain in jeopardy.

Stakeholders report that maritime collections are growing apace though formal and informal donations. Collections are geographically dispersed and Museum standard conservation standards are not generally adopted. National Museum standards are not being met. Museums Victoria advises that such donation generally require professional curatorial assessment – which is costly.

It is important to note that the collections within regional maritime museums in Victoria are often ‘site specific’. i.e. generally focusing upon on local maritime heritage and largely reliant upon support by local governments.